U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY JOHN BRYSON RETURNS FROM INDIA TRADE MISSION
Infrastructure Trade Mission Connected U.S. Businesses with Opportunities in India
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson returned this weekend from a five-day trade mission to India, his first as Commerce Secretary. During the mission, Secretary Bryson, a delegation of 16 U.S. businesses, and representatives from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) met with senior-level Indian government officials to advocate for U.S. export opportunities in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, promote investment opportunities in America, and encourage more Indian travelers to visit the United States. The trade mission supported two of President Obama’s priority initiatives: SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America, and the National Export Initiative, an effort to create more good-paying jobs by doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
“During last week’s trade mission, we took concrete steps toward strengthening our commercial relationship with India,” Bryson said. “American business leaders connected with Indian firms to create new opportunities in India’s rising infrastructure and renewable energy sectors. We met with government and business leaders and laid out our goals, as well as our concerns. We saw first-hand how India’s many regions continue to grow rapidly – opening the door for unprecedented opportunities. We launched a promising new partnership to bring more Indian visitors to the United States. These developments lay the groundwork for U.S. companies to increase exports, attract greater investment, and create good jobs here at home.”
The mission began in New Delhi, where Bryson focused on opportunities for U.S. companies to partner with Indian firms on infrastructure projects. India is planning to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development over the next five years, which presents an opportunity for U.S. companies to offer their skills and expertise that can help India meet its infrastructure goals. Secretary Bryson delivered remarks at an infrastructure-focused event hosted by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), where he announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce and India’s Ministry of Commerce had taken steps to renew the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue, a key component of the bilateral trade relationship, for an additional two-year term. Secretary Bryson also witnessed the signing of two USTDA grants supporting U.S. business investments in India’s energy infrastructure development. Later, he participated in a roundtable hosted by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, which focused on opportunities for infrastructure investment in states and Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sectors (GEMS) cities.
On Wednesday, Secretary Bryson traveled to Jaipur, where he met with a group of Rajasthan industry representatives and discussed trade and investment opportunities that benefit both the United States and India. He also toured Jaipur Foot, a manufacturer of prosthetic leg devices, and Mahindra World City, a joint economic venture between Mahindra and the government of Rajasthan, to learn how U.S. companies can partner with Indian companies to provide their equipment, services and technologies to help the region achieve its development goals.
Bryson finished up the mission in Mumbai, where he met with Indian industry leaders to talk about opportunities to invest in the United States and the tools offered by SelectUSA to facilitate that investment. India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is a priority market under the SelectUSA initiative. Bryson also delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), where he encouraged Indian investment in the U.S. as a means of fostering economic growth and job creation in both countries. In addition, Bryson participated in the official launch of the Visit USA Committee India (VUSACOM), a public-private partnership to increase travel and tourism from India to the United States.
While the delegation was in Mumbai, the Board of Directors of OPIC, the U.S. government’s development finance institution, approved $250 million in financing to help India’s Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) expand its lending to renewable energy projects – including solar, wind and energy efficiency – as well as infrastructure projects overall.
During the mission, the delegation of 16 U.S. companies participated in meetings with Indian firms in an effort to promote their technologies and services in the Indian market, and support job creation at home. Two business representatives who joined Secretary Bryson on the tour reflected on their experiences:
“Being a part of the trade delegation to India accompanying Commerce Secretary John Bryson on his first official visit was both positive and productive. Our hosts in New Delhi, Jaipur, and Mumbai were extraordinarily gracious in welcoming us, and it is gratifying to be a formative part of what President Obama referred to as ‘one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century’,” said Jim Butts, Senior Vice President, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
“The overview of the economic and political situations was invaluable and reinforced our understanding of doing business in India. The dozens of meetings we had created direct and tangible results – direct project leads and relationships with potential new clients evolved overnight,” said Jennifer Devlin, Principal, EHDD Architecture.
Trade missions are an important part of the Commerce Department’s efforts to strengthen the commercial relationship between the United States and our trading partners, and past missions contributed to the success of thousands of companies exporting in 2011 for the first time.